I recently surveyed one of my business-owner groups. I asked them what they thought was the biggest challenge that business owners face. I included a list of suggestions. The list Included time management, marketing, strategy, mindset, financial management, profitability and cash-flow.
The results of the poll surprised me. The clear winner was “lead generation.” It received double the number of votes of any other option.
I must admit that this result confused me for a moment. Why? Because our newsfeeds are brimming with marketing advice, eBooks, checklists, infographics, tactics and strategies. Many (but not all) of these include proven “lead generation” methodologies. So why is it that we struggle so much with generating new leads for our business?
Is it because the marketing landscape has become too? Is it because we have more competitors fighting for market share? Is it because we have become overwhelmed by all our marketing choices? Is it because there is a lack of information telling us exactly what to do?
No. I don’t believe that these issues are the real reason why so many are struggling with lead generation. I am not saying that those things aren’t challenges. They are. But I don’t believe that they are the root cause of most lead generation problems. I believe the problem is deeper than that. I believe that the problem begins and ends with the business owner. And it is all about their “marketing mindset.”
I know I may have just offended some of my readers with that statement. I am well known for not sugar-coating my opinion with my clients. Yet I hope that you read on because I want to share with you what I see as the major obstacles. I also want to share how to overcome them.
The observations I share are based on 20 years of business mentoring experience. I have had the pleasure of mentoring thousands of Australian entrepreneurs. During that time the marketing world has changed beyond recognition. But I believe that it has never been easier to generate leads. Why? Because we have the power of a large publishing house at our fingertips. We also have access to amazing technology to help us share our marketing message.
So why is lead generation such a struggle for so many?
I think the answer often lies in our “Marketing Mindset.”
Over the years I have noticed there are at least five “Marketing Mindsets” that will result in failure. I know this because I have suffered from them all at one point or another. I have also seen these mindsets in my clients. So let me share with you my lessons so that you get the leads you want and deserve.
1: The “Build It and Hopefully They Will Come” Mindset
Not happening. It does not work that way. Being the best kept secret in the world is not good for your bank account.
As a business owner you must dedicate time, money and resources to your marketing. If you are doing zero marketing, your business is going backwards. Some client and customer attrition is natural in any business. But if you are losing clients faster than gaining them, your business on the path of failure. That’s basic maths.
If you are not putting the required time, energy and money into your marketing I urge you to make the change today. It is a decision followed by action. You deserve success but you must market your business to achieve it. It’s my experience that you need to spend at least four hours each week in this area of your business.
2. The “I’m Not Good at Marketing” Mindset
I hear this one a lot. Now, it may be that marketing is one of your weaker business skills but I guarantee you are an expert marketer.
Every day we are all marketers. We market our ideas to our wife, our husband, our partner, our children and friends. You are already a pro.
But that does not mean that you can’t improve your business marketing skills. Just like driving a car, swimming or even walking, business marketing is a learnt skill. It requires education and practice.
Nobody is good at marketing when they first begin. One of my favourite sayings is “the first pancake is always lumpy.” But you will never be a good business marketer until you get the right education. There are some great teachers out there who have been there and done what you are trying to achieve. Find one and then invest.
People tell me that they can’t afford training or development. My answer is harsh but honest. You cannot afford not to. If you want to drive a car, you need to pass a test. If you want to start a business, you do not need to pass a test. That does not mean however that it’s a good idea to skip those business marketing driving lessons.
An investment in your education is the gift that keeps giving. Let me be clear, I am not suggesting that you must become a marketing ninja for every marketing tactic. That would be a complete waste of your time (unless of course that is your business!) but I am saying that you need to understand Marketing Strategy and how to do one. You need to develop and drive the marketing strategy in your business. Larger businesses have dedicated experts doing this. As a smaller business, you don’t have that luxury.
3. The “Let’s Hire a Solution” Mindset
This mindset often accompanies the “I’m not a good marketer” mindset.
Some of us realise that we need marketing help so we go and hire someone. Seems, on the surface at least to be a good solution.
As we all know, expert help is expensive. But in my opinion, non-expert help is even more expensive. Unfortunately, I see many entrepreneurs investing in the wrong type of help. The only thing this makes a difference to is your costs!
Many hire themselves a VA thinking that this will be their marketing solution. It rarely is. You see a VA is just that a “Virtual Assistant.” Whilst some VAs may be highly qualified that doesn’t mean they will achieve results. Ask yourself do they know how to market to your clients? Do they understand marketing strategy? Do they understand your clients needs and wants? Do they have a track record of getting marketing results for a similar business?
Whilst a good VA can be a huge help, they cannot succeed without a defined marketing strategy and plan. Your communications must be quality over quantity. Just creating blogs and social media posts will not bring you those leads. If you use a scattergun approach you will end up spinning your wheels.
If you are going to hire assistance, then hire the best. If you cannot afford the best, then go and learn from the best. The bottom line is that you cannot abdicate your responsibility as the Marketing Strategist. You can get help but ultimately the marketing buck stops with you. Do not hire task administrators in the hope of them compensating for a lack of Strategy.
4. The “I’m Not Good Enough” Mindset
Now this one is a complete killer for your business in many ways. If you know that you are not marketing yourself because of negative self-talk, stop it! Low self-esteem is the cause of death of far too many businesses.
I haven’t met many business owners who are completely satisfied with their efforts. Maybe that is our nature. Or as one of my mentors, Kevin Nations once said. “There will always be more mountain to climb. As you get to the peak of one mountain, you will see further. The only time you will ever feel done is when your capabilities outgrow your ambition.” Now I have paraphrased that (sorry Kevin) but that was a message that hit me right between the eyes.
Dissatisfaction with our results seems to be a part of the entrepreneurial journey. Maybe because we risk more to become more. Or maybe it is because we are so passionate about what we do. This does not however give you permission to not appreciate yourself and your achievements.
I invite you to stop right now and look back and see how far you have already come. See everything you have already conquered. In fact, I encourage you to do that daily. As you appreciate yourself more, you will find others notice and appreciate you more too. It could just be the best magnetic marketing strategy ever.
5. “The I Don’t Enjoy Networking” Mindset
Okay so you maybe you are an introvert. I am too. Maybe you are humble. Maybe you are shy. Maybe you just don’t like networking. If any of those are true for you then here is my advice… get over it.
Sorry to sound harsh but the basis of a successful business is relationships. Relationships with our clients, our team, our suppliers and our community. These are the people that support us in our mission. I have never met a successful business owner that didn’t have a support network around them.
The stronger your network, the more support you have.
But you can’t build relationships whilst sitting at your office. You need to get out and about. Find your tribe. Find your people.
The best lead generation strategy of all is referrals. But your referrals are limited to the people who have experienced your magic. Networking is one way to increase the number of people who know about you.
It is not a marketing strategy that will produce immediate results. It is a long-term strategy. Sometimes our impatience results in us not investing enough time in our relationships. We move on to the next opportunity too soon. Be a strategic thinker not an opportunity seeker when it comes to your networking.
Network with other like-minded business owners. Network with others inside and outside your industry. This is a great strategy for lead generation. It is also fantastic for your business education.
Never underestimate the power of your network. Build one that will support your success and learn how to love networking – it’s an essential skill. As they say, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”
In fact, networking, has been the biggest lead generation source for my business. Let me explain.
I migrated to Perth at 22 years of age. I left my family behind for new adventures. I arrived late one hot November night with my suitcase and $1,500.00.
The only person I knew in Perth was a “friend of a friend.” Lucky for me they allowed me to sleep on their dining room floor for the first few weeks.
Only two weeks before I left the UK, I discovered I had Cancer. So now I was in a new country, with limited money and support and Cancer!
After getting established in Australia I decided to start my own business. I had just one client, no list and I had rent to pay. I needed sales leads!
So I decided to create a community of business owners. It was called the Business Masters Club and each month we hosted an event. Over the years we had hundreds of clients come to the Business Masters Club. Many of our members found new friendships in that community. I must say it is one of my proudest business achievements.
On paper the Business Masters Club was a bad decision. It took hours to prepare the content and arrange the event. We charged a nominal fee and so the events were not profitable. However, that community has given me millions of dollars of referrals to my business. That group of people who I invested in have turned out to be my best source of leads . I share this with you for two reasons.
Firstly, your networks don’t always pay off immediately. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest. Be kind, be gracious and be patient.
Secondly, I came to Australia as a migrant with just $1,500.00. I know exactly what it is like to start from scratch.
Today, I feel like I have the most blessed life. I have a beautiful home by the ocean. I have a loving family, awesome friends and inspiring clients. Of course, life still has challenges. That is life.
Over the years I have invested a huge amount of money in my education and personal development. I know that mindset can be the difference between ordinary and extraordinary results. It can also be the difference between success and failure in your business.
So if you have a lead generation problem right now, I urge you to ask yourself, ”Is this a “Marketing Mindset” issue”? The truth may just set you free and bring you all the leads you desire.
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My name is Anthea Horvat. I am a Business Strategist and Mentor. I am also the founder of Business Fusion and the Business Masters Club™. I specialise in helping Australian, established, service based business owners to increase their profitability, scalability and saleability.I help them to create their ultimate business.
Over the last 15 years I have had the pleasure and honour of personally mentoring over 3,000 Australian business owners to create their ideal business. I believe that life is too short to be stuck in a business delivering mediocre financial rewards and lifestyle.
If you want to increase the profitability and scalability of your business please join our free online training community – Business Masters Club™. It’s free to join and you can become a member of a community of business owners committed to growing their businesses.
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